Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.
Welcome to ADHD.
[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks! And know these accounts are true … without exaggeration!]
Really, deduces Screen One, the problem begins with your oldest brother’s e-mail.
Michael: My friend got me a Gold’s Gym pull-up/chin-up bar that can hang in a doorway. Niiiice birthday surprise. I can’t believe the difference the bar has made to my shoulders’ range of mobility. I can feel myself getting stronger. Still trying to get fitter. And so, OK, maybe I won’t get your Tarzan build, but at least I look less like Jane’s mom now.
Screen One is right! agrees Six, then whistles in admiration, My, but “Big Boy No. 1” is super-fit.
“And he’s way stronger, guys,” I tell my half-dozen screens. “My last wrestling and sparring match with The Old Man left legs aching.” I laugh. “Can’t keep up … too powerful, that one. He’s killing me softly with his ‘strong’!”
Have you let him know that? asks Two in a prompting sort of way.
Blackie: Because you keep an extraordinarily keen eye on all of us younger sibs, Michael, I want to head off your commenting on any limping or imbalance you may detect in me. I sometimes hide it; increasingly, I cannot. As best I can, I do exercises for strength and balance. That will have to be enough. The doctor insists on an MRI, but I’m done.
Michael: Are you saying that when you and I wrestled, we so messed up your leg you now use a cane at times? I’m in a panic. If your leg hurts THAT much, you may have a blood clot – dangerous beyond words! Get an MRI today … now! Even if the injury is not from what I did, it’s STILL something “not normal.” Get an MRI.
If only Mike would be clearer about what he wants, laughs Four.
Michael: ANY idea how I would feel if the blood clot broke, moved to your brain and gave you a sudden-death seizure? I’d be a MESS! Bottom line? Get an MRI done!
Just guessing, of course, ventures physician Five, but it appears Mike wants you to get an MRI.
Michael: If you don’t have health insurance, I will pay for it. Did I mention I want you to have an MRI?
Blackie: Your offer to pay for the MRI is incredible, Big Boy No. 1, and your words are full of love and concern. But the truth is, I hate when doctors – despite my agony – tell me nothing’s wrong. And I hate when doctors do find something and tell me it will involve many more months of corrective surgery.
Though I should know better than to say this to YOU after all your accidents and broken bones, much of my body hurts-hurts-hurts. I am still being rebuilt from The Accident years ago. Blackwells don’t “do” doctors, yet I’ve been to so many, each of whom pieced another portion of me back together as best he/she could. But the pain just mounts, even with proper diet, supplementary vitamins and up to two hours of therapy every day but Sunday.
It’s great to have you as our fearless leader. Nonetheless, this one time, I am setting aside your wisdom. I won’t be enduring an MRI. I’m done, my brother.
Whoa, Black, says Six, sharp intake of breath accenting his two syllables. Sounds like … well, like you are quitting. That is new to us.
Michael: Ohhhh, you break my heart. Dad told me at the last reunion that he was “done.” That he was tired. He’d had enough. Ten days later, he was gone. Mom told me on a walk at Christmas that she was “done.” That she had lived a full life. She was ready to go. Two months later, she was gone.
Listen closely, Black, murmurs Three. Hear a human heart breaking?
Michael: And now you tell me you are “done.” I know from personal experience that when you are “done,” a HUGE part of you accepts that, whereas before you might have fought it.
Losing Jeff staggered me. Dad died and I miss him so much. Mom passed and I miss her most of all. The cancer tried its hardest to kill me, as did the chemo. My new after-cancer body is hopeless. And some days I get so tired and hurt and beat-up that I wonder if I, too, am “done.” But I wake up the next day, thank God for another sunrise … and jump into life again.
I can’t lose anyone else for a long, long time. Selfish, I know, but true. Please don’t be done.
So? Two quietly asks. What will you do with Mike’s request?
“Told you earlier he’s killing me softly with his ‘strong’ – with his physical prowess, ageless athleticism, tireless triumphs.”
“And now he’s killing me softly with his ‘strong’ – with his heart courageous enough to be gentle, his ego confident enough to be tender, his words soft enough to be heard.”
Really no choice, is there?
“No. So I take up his ‘challenge’ to jump into life.”
But all that happened seven years ago, counters Four. What is happening now?
“Now? On this, his 63rd birthday, the best gift I give is issuing Mike the same challenge.”
Using his own words to secure his promise to go on, smiles Six. Clever, that.
Postscript: Because of ever-motivating Robert Hunt, this “ADHD Powered” column –
We never did like the word “blog,” says Screen One, making a face.
– now has “graced” the Internet for two full years. (More on that next week. Maybe.) Just wanted to mark a milestone, acknowledge you Real Worlders reading each week, express gratefulness to a bride who believes in me and thank an excellent friend for his vision.
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Roberta Flack lends her version of my thoughts
Love letter is (read) out of this world
Shut up and dance through life
We’ll sing this to Mike next year at this time!